So I am driving to row practice a couple of weeks ago and sitting in my head and worrying about the future and perseverating (God I love that word) over all the things that I have no control over. Which is a huge problem for me. Because I want to. Control things. Specifically things out of my control.
So I’m driving to rowing and I’m talking to the Universe and I’m asking her to please, um, can you help me here with this because I’m losing my mind.
And she’s so fucking smart. Which is what I really truly love about her but which also really kind of bugs me sometimes. So anyway, I’m driving to rowing and I’m thinking all these thoughts, and I’m really swirling and kind of losing control and getting way too in my head. Help me, I say out loud in the car even though she can hear me whether I say it out loud or not. I’m in pain here. What am I supposed to do? And the Universe, in all her great wisdom, she says row. The Bitch says row. Because that’s all I can do. In this moment.
All I can do on this day, in this moment, is row. The answer is brilliant. (Because all her answers are brilliant). And it makes me laugh, which breaks my stream of incredibly unproductive and also quite painful thought processes. And I was ok. For that moment.
My pattern, with this pattern I have of perseverating (that amazing word again!) as much as I do, is a pattern that goes to a quite negative/worst case scenario place. And I have been doing this for a very long time. And have been thinking about why I have been doing this for a very long time.
It started when my kids were little. Just babies. And my husband would travel all the time for work. And I would sit at home and think about his plane crashing, or a car accident or god know (God knows 😊) what other thoughts there were.
It felt like preparation. It was preparation. I was preparing for what I would do if something terrible happened so that I wouldn’t be surprised when it did. My plan would be in place. My emotions would have warning. I would be ready.
I did some looking into this, early on. Because why am I doing this? And I found Carl Jung. According to Carl, the collective unconscious is made up of a collection of knowledge and imagery that every person is born with and is shared by all human beings due to ancestral experience. And, because our brains interpret uncertainly as danger, thanks to our ancient ancestors, our brains are designed to expect the worst.
So when we were cave dwellers and the strong went out to hunt the wild boar and the rest of us were left in the cave with not much food for our children, we had to prepare ourselves that they might not come home. That food might not be arriving. That we would possibly be on our own. And so we got ready. In case they didn’t come back.
And this made a lot of sense then. And sometimes makes a lot of sense, now. Until it doesn’t.
Because what happens, when we worry about all these things we can’t control, is we are far away from where we actually are. Which is in the moment we are in. And so I am missing all these moments. I am missing all these moments because I am worrying about the things in the future I have to prepare myself for. That I really don’t have to prepare myself for at all.
I am recognizing that I am in the habit now of doing this. It’s not a mindful decision to reflect on the future to prepare for the worst. I just seem to slip into my future more often than not. And so I am working on breaking my habit.
The first step is dismantling the justification that I can’t help this because my ancestors set me up. I like to use that excuse so that I can continue to stay in my head and out of the moments of my life. Why I want to stay in my head is a puzzle, it’s painful in here. And so I am catching myself when I do this and letting the ancient ones off the hook.
And I am diving into new things. As I create new patterns in my spirit and my soul, I am called to create new patterns in the movement of my body. I am rowing. I tried Aerial Lyra and I am doing Pole (It’s ballet on a pole, I am in heaven). I am filling up my soul by filling up my body. And in turn, I am in the moment of these movements and not in the meanderings of my mind.
And I am writing again here. Behavioral change needs consistency and accountability. So I am sending it all out into the world each week. Making the sharing of these writings my declaration of what I am stepping into.
And always there is gratitude. Thank you obsessive brain, it’s amazing that you are so creative and I know you are showing up because you believe you are helping me. But I am doing this right now. And then I am back in this moment. Right here.
And so this image that I share, from an idea that I stole off the internet--but isn’t it so cool that I did it with Nava!—it truly does capture what I am striving for. Basically, I want to be my dog.
Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Dancer, Rower, Runner, Dog and Cat lover.